It’s a critical moment. Globalization lays bare timidity and mediocrity. What Canada does now could make us a world leader, or it could leave us behind, sitting on the sidelines as the rest of the world moves on. Canada is in the right place at the right time to lead the way in the new, networked age. The choice is ours to make.
It is up to Canadians to define their brand, the image we want people to visualize when they think about Canada. We are the makers of our own good name. And a good name matters. In a world of extraordinary mobility, it matters when competing for top talent and investments. It matters when we seek to trade or share knowledge with other countries. It matters when Canadians travel abroad. We want the world to see beyond moose and Mounties and think of Canada’s dynamism.
Many of the visitors to our panel were frustrated by the lack of definition and passion around the Canada brand. The Vancouver Olympics provided a welcome exception and a good start in projecting a contemporary, connected, competitive Canada. It is something to build on.
We need to make a strong, credible, and consistent case for the Canada we strive to be; otherwise we will allow others to define us – at best as that nice country of little consequence, or at worst, as the dirty oil country or the little brother of the U.S or that nation that clubs innocent baby seals. That is a brand noise a country could do without.
If we want to be known as an energy superpower, – better yet, – a clean-energy superpower, – or the most diverse and welcoming land in the world or an international peacemaker and problem-solver or an Arctic power or the innovation nation, we need to work hard at being those things.
Throughout the pages of this report, we call on Canada to become the most open country in the world; open to ideas, open to one another; open to newcomers; open to investment, trade, and technology; open to international partnerships; open, like our Olympics, to the benefits of competition and the uncompromising pursuit of excellence.
This is our Open Canada. It speaks to our aspirations, – to our geography, our economy, and our diversity. Simply put, we want the world to see Canada as the most global and networked country anywhere, because that is what we will be.